Shake It Fast, But Watch Yourself

Music is pervasive. It permaeates your psyche. It influences out your perspcetive and according to research it can dictate your behavior.

A study released by The American Journal of Public Health confirms that rap music videos may be having a negative effect on Black teenage females.

The study sample of the report reads: from December 1996 through April 1999, recruiters screened female teenagers residing in non-urban, lower-socioeconomic-status neighborhoods from school health classes and county health department clinics to determine their eligibility for participating in an HIV prevention program. Adolescents were eligible to participate if they were African American females, were between ages 14 and 18, had been sexually active in the previous 6 months, and provided written informed consent.

The study was performed by Gina M. Wingood, ScD, MPH, Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD, Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH, Kathy Harrington, MPH, MAEd, Susan L. Davies, PhD, MEd, Alyssa Robillard, PhD and Edward W. Hook, III, MD. The scholars, doctors and researchers in discussion state:

While not specifically referring to only rap music videos but also other forms of media, the prevalence of drugs, violence, and sex in films is dangerous to young African Americans that find few positive role models of African Americans in today’s media.

While the authors of a new study say that these types of music videos do not make young black girls do bad things.The study did find that black teen girls who view more rap videos are more likely to get in trouble with the law, take drugs and become infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

"We can see there is some link, some association," says study co-author Gina Wingood, an associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education at Emory University in Atlanta. "Maybe they see what’s on the rap music videos and think that’s how teenagers act, and that’s how I should act."

Wingood and her colleagues went to health clinics in Birmingham, Ala., and studied 522 black girls from 1996 to 1999. All were sexually active and between the ages of 14 and 18.

Girls who watched the most rap videos (more than the average of 14 hours a week), were three times as likely as the other girls to have hit a teacher (7.1 percent versus 2.4 percent). They were also 2.5 times more likely to have been arrested (17.3 percent versus 7.2 percent), and nearly two times more likely to have had sex with multiple partners (19.3 percent versus 11 percent).

The researchers then followed the girls for a year. Forty-one percent of those who watched the most rap music videos developed a sexually transmitted disease, compared to 33 percent who didn’t watch as many videos.